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Whistleblower fired

April 16, 2008 |  5:50 pm

A University of Nevada, Reno, professor who complained about improper hiring practices and animal abuse at campus research farms has been fired and banned from university property. The Associated Press reports from Reno:

“I was fired ... and escorted from my office by campus police as if I were a criminal,” Hussein S. Hussein told the Reno Gazette-Journal for a story first reported Monday on the newspaper’s website. An internationally recognized animal nutritionist, Hussein said he was informed Friday of UNR President Milton Glick’s decision and told to turn in the key to his office at the agriculture college. Hussein said his dismissal was retaliation for his blowing the whistle on improper activities at UNR and he said he would fight it in court.

For the rest of the story, read after the jump.

“My only crime was saying they must follow the law in hiring and follow the law in the treatment of research animals,” he said.

Glick’s decision is counter to the findings last month of Peter Breen, a former Washoe District Court judge who served as special hearing officer in the disciplinary hearing that led to Hussein’s dismissal.

The hearing was based on claims that Hussein plagiarized his graduate students’ work and misrepresented money given to support his research in order to improve his laboratory instead of paying a portion of the funds to UNR for overhead costs.

In a 28-page report, Breen found that Hussein did conceal the contractual nature of three research projects, preventing the university from collecting $377,000, but that his actions did not merit being fired.

Breen’s report was made to a four-member faculty committee, which made a disciplinary recommendation to Glick.

Hussein has two civil rights lawsuits pending against the university in U.S. District Court. In 2005, a federal investigation concluded that the university mistreated research animals, and the school agreed to pay an $11,400 fine to settle the case.

Hussein faced a disciplinary hearing that year on a charge that he violated university regulations by hiring a Reno veterinarian to examine research pigs he thought were being abused. That charge was later dismissed.

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